KITCHENER -- The Royal Canadian Legion kicked off the official poppy campaign ahead of Remembrance Day.

Because of the pandemic, the campaign itself will look different than in years prior.

The poppy campaign raises awareness for the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. For the 2020 campaign, the Royal Canadian Legion has introduced a pilot project with tap-to-pay option on donation boxes. The tap option reduces the need for physical contact.

“it's really a twofold response not only to the fact that we're now in the midst of a pandemic, and it gives people an option to donate without having to touch anything but also people are moving more towards a cashless kind of transaction,” said Nujma Bond, Communications Manager with The Royal Canadian legion National Headquarters.

There will only be one of these tap donation boxes available in Waterloo, at the Shoppers Drugmart location on King Street South. It's expected to be ready by Nov. 2 at the latest.

The Guelph Legion is also offering an e-transfer option to support the campaign.

Many Legion branches are already facing financial strain with an aging membership and the pandemic temporarily closing their doors in an effort to keep people safe.

The Legion says that supporting the poppy campaign is vital.

"It is very necessary for us to keep up with this good thing that we've been doing for years," said KW Poppy Fund Chair Stan Howie.

"This year's going to be a little different, because all we can hope for now is all your mail-outs that they all send back in, because a lot of malls now won't let you in and so it's going to be different this year and it's going to be harder to raise funds for the veterans."

Legions across the country will see scaled back Remembrance Day ceremonies, asking you show your support by attending virtual ceremonies.

“Even the simple act of wearing a poppy reflects your thankfulness to our veterans so that's one thing you can do,” said Bond.

“Some of our brothers and sisters paid that ultimate price, so take the time to respect them and think of them,” said Stephen Mann, Sergeant in Arms with Branch 530 in Waterloo as well as parade marshal.

The money raised by the campaign directly supports the veterans and local legions.